For Christmas, my sister decided to (get me back) return the favor for the Bikram Yoga classes I bought her. That's right. She got me (gulp) exotic dancing classes. Many of you unenlightened ladies out there are still planning to work out by walking on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, or worse, running/biking outside. With nature. I know I know. You all plan to begin this regimen tomorrow. Right.
Well that's where exotic dancing comes in. It has the advantage of an excellent strength training workout, without the boring old boringness of "traditional" exercise. However, it was with trepidation that I perused the class schedule, which includes "pole dancing" (beginner, level 1, and level 2); "exotic floor and chair dancing", and "belly dancing". Eventually, I suppose we will try all three types of class, and so I chose "beginner pole dance" as class numero uno. I also read the website inside and out. Unlike Bikram, I hoped to be prepared for whatever potential embarrassment I might endure. Hence, I showed up to class with two pairs of high heels that looked semi-appropriate, a change of clothes, a yoga mat (?), and a bottle of water. Sounds like the contents of a sorority girl's purse on a Saturday night. Zing!
I stowed most of this (unnecessary) gear in a cubby, and entered the pole room, where sis and I each picked a pole situated near the back. Several other girls filtered in, chatting nervously as we awaited the adventure.
During class, we learn a few moves:
1. The "sexy walk" - lifting our legs high with pointed, elegant heels, we take deliberate steps around the pole. One hand rests gracefully on the pole, while the other hand does a
2. "sexy trace": Whenever we have a free hand, we are supposed to rub it elegantly over our decidedly unsleek bodies, up our necks, and under our hair. (Oops, note to self: pony tail is unsexy.)
On the bright side, this is all done at our own pace and is basically just exaggerated walking rather than dance. Except for my heels getting a bit caught up in my bell-bottomed yoga pants, I am relatively successful at completing the moves.
3. The "sexy turn" wherein we basically switch hands on the pole and walk in the other direction. Naturally, we are to remain sexy while doing this.
4. The "sexy leg lift" - we sexily imitate a male dog at a fire hydrant, and the
5. "better view", where we switch our leg position to the front of the pole, giving our imaginary audience behind us a look at the goods. (Next note to self - do not pick pole directly behind the instructor next time....then look at other participants. On second thought, perhaps this is a good position.)
We then stand in front of the pole, and grip it with one arm raised and the other low. We begin
6. the "sexy slide": In a decidedly unsexy manner, I attempt to mimic the instructor, who has gracefully crossed one leg beneath the other, and has slid to the ground with her bottom leg outstretched. I release the grip on the top hand and jerkily descend to the ground, landing with an audible thud. Several classmates have similar results.
7. Then, the floor exercises, which include "the sexy snake" and the "sexy cat". We lie on our stomachs in front of our poles and lift our torso while sexily bending one knee with an elegantly pointed heel and/or gyrating our hips. I look forward to see my sister's bum - gyrating. Luckily, I get her back when we reverse directions to work the other side.
8. As you probably guessed by now, we will certainly need to do something sexy in order to get back up. This is my favorite, and likely my most unsexy move: "the butterfly". We crouch hippy-style with the pole between our legs. I can't remember how we got to this position, but I assure you: it was sexy. Then, we flap our legs in and out (like butterfly wings), rising slightly higher with each "flap". We perform the "sexy trace" with one hand, and grasp the pole with the other. This definitely works out the thighs, abs, and butt. It is very difficult to maintain a sexy face when the body is in this much pain.
9. Last, we practice jumping up on the pole and suspending ourselves with arms bent and legs squeezed around the pole. I hold this position for nearly 2 seconds, but my sister is still hanging up there (sexily of course) for the duration of the exercise. We try again, and I manage about 2.5 seconds.
At the end, we do a full routine, in which all the moves are practiced. I actually manage the "sexy slide" in a nearly sexy manner.
Then we gathered our sexy things from our sexy cubbies. We got in our sexy cars and drove home in a sexy manner. This was not boring, and not hell. At this point, I like it better than Bikram, but I am not sure I am ready to ditch the spin classes.
Next lesson: Pole Dancing, Level 1.